Building Bridges: Connecting State and Community Early Childhood Efforts
In September 2015, state and local leaders from New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Vermont met in Pittsburgh to address and explore pivotal questions related to the field: What roles are better played by the state and which are better suited to the community? How do state and local-level early childhood leaders facilitate family engagement and empowerment? What are state and local measures of success for state and local efforts?
Participants had a full agenda. We offer below the handouts, slide decks and other informative resources shared during the sessions to incite further conversations within your local and state communities. For a grander overview of the BUILD Initiative's work in various states, read our "Nuts and Bolts of Building Early Childhood Systems Through State/Local Initiatives" and check out chapter 2 of the BUILD Initiative's e-book "Rising to the Challenge: Building Effective Systems for Young Children and Families," which was used as a handout for "The Use of Data in State and Local Systems Building Efforts" session.
We are happy to share the remarks of Karen Ponder, the founder of North Carolina's Smart Start Initiative. In her speech "My Work, My Passion," she spoke of her thirty-plus years of experiences building early childhood systems across the country.
Bridging Community Approaches and State Early Childhood Systems Efforts
During the opening plenary session, a panel of state and local leaders (Michelle Figlar, Janice Gebicki, Eva Gladstein, Julie Thumma and Cristy Yoders) discussed their perspectives on local early childhood systems building efforts, local needs and the role that state plays in both supporting local efforts, building a statewide systems building framework and assuring that state and local efforts are aligned and integrated. Related handouts are shared below:
- Overview of United Way Of Southwestern Pennsylvania
- A Running Start: Our Citywide Plan To Improve School Readiness from Philadelphia Mayor's Office Of Community Empowerment and Opportunity
- Overview of Butler County Early Care and Education Council
- Overview of United Way's Success By 6
Building on Neighborhood and Community Strengths to Address Disparities in Child Development
This session explored how community governance structures, community strategies, an asset-based approach and a racial equity lens can advance community and state efforts to address current disparities in both early childhood and other systems serving families by redirecting resources where they can produce the greatest impact. Executive Director of the Child and Family Policy Center, Charles Bruner led a presentation entitled "From State To Community To Village: Young Children And Their Neighborhoods," which investigated how census data can be used to identify neighborhoods of greatest childhood concern and the importance of finding ways to work with families within these neighborhoods to help provide for them the time, space and opportunity to connect with the youngest members of their families. Additionally, Dana Friedman, President of The Early Years Institute in New York, gave a thought-provoking presentation that explored Early Development Instrument (EDI) and the challenges faced in creating a systemic change e.g. racism, affordable housing, lack of voice and representation, lack of literacy and access and limited cultural competence.
Joan Blough, Senior Vice President of the Early Childhood Investment Corporation, and Jeanna Capito encouraged session participants to reflect on how families can be partners in the design and implementation of their state and local early childhood systems. Issues of equity were explored including how states and communities might redistribute resources to ensure that all families have equal opportunity, participation and results. Click the link above to view the slide deck.
Marge Petruska, Senior Program Director for Children, Youth & Families at The Heinz Endowments, reflected on the foundation's Early Childhood Initiative in Allegheny County and more broadly shared how the foundation's regional efforts have served as a laboratory for developing approaches that have state and national impact.
The SPARK (Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids) initiative was one of the largest, in scope and duration, ever undertaken by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) - a 7-year investment of more than $160 million in direct and indirect support to 8 grantee states. The ambition of SPARK was to discover how to stem the tide of children who arrive at kindergarten each year unprepared to learn and, thus, start with a handicap that they might never overcome; half the academic gap seen in grade 12 can be attributed to gaps that existed in first grade. Read an overview of the SPARK Initiative here and click above for the slide deck used during the session.
During this session, state and local leaders discussed the diverse approaches they are taking in aligning and integrating pre-k, Head Start, child care, home visiting and other aspects of the early childhood system.
It's All About Leadership Breakout Session
This session explored key leadership elements necessary to build and sustain collaborative systems building as well as ways that state can support leadership capacity building and a "leading for equity" approach at the local level. Related handouts are shared below:
- Leaders' Collaborative Key Messages
- Map of Smart Start Leaders Collaborative
- Oregon Early Learning Hub Leadership Institute- Leading for Equity
- Map of Learning Hubs in Oregon
- Leadership in the Age of Complexity: From Hero To Host
- Are You In High Action and High Alignment?
- Executive Summary of Leaders' Collaborative
- Theory of Change: A Progression of Thinking and Action to Realize Our Vision
- Education Investment Board: Equity Lens
- Two-Way Communication and Feedback Loops: Oregon Early Learning Hub Collaborative Team Charter
The Public/Private Partnership Approach in Early Childhood Systems Building
Participants of this session gained insights from local and state leaders Julie Ellen Davis, Trustee of South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness, Marie St. Fleur, President of Bessie Tartt Wilson Initiative for Children, Mary Rieck, Peak Coordinator in the Pottsdown School District, on how to build strong public/private partnerships. We include here the handouts from this session.
- Overview of South Carolina First Steps To School Readiness
- Creating a Comprehensive Community Early Learning System: Pottstown Early Action for Kindergarten Readiness
- Pottstown School District Partners with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Announcement
- Put MA Kids First Fact Sheet